Helga Esteb /

August 4, 2012; Source: Gay Star News

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was nominated to run for reelection, trouncing four Republican opponents including Tea Party favorite Zach Poskevich, who joined the cacophony sounding off against Corker’s propensity for deal-making with the hated liberals. His most ineradicable crime appears to have been negotiating with Senate Democrats to find middle ground on financial reform legislation. Nonetheless, Corker garnered 85.3 percent of Republican primary voters, while Poskevich took only 6.2 percent of the vote, ensuring that Corker wouldn’t go the way of Indiana’s Dick Lugar. While Tea Partier Poskevich lost in the Republican contest, self-described “tea party style conservative activist” Mark Clayton won the Tennessee Democratic Party’s nomination to run against Corker for the U.S. Senate.

Corker’s seat was probably a safe Republican bet, but Clayton, who says his candidacy “gives another shot for tea party conservatives…to run against Corker” probably guarantees it, especially since the Democratic Party greeted his primary victory with a statement “disavowing” him because of his affiliation with an alleged “known hate group.” Clayton is, the Gay Star News reports, vice president for Public Advocate of the United States (see PDF of the group’s 990), a 501(c)(4) headquartered in Falls Church, Va. It’s not hard to figure out the group’s politics. Its website says, “After Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, Public Advocate is the group most Washington insiders hate the most.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classifies Public Advocate as a hate group, and that moniker comes from its virulent anti-gay positions. Most of its current agenda seems to focus on those pesky homosexuals, opposing same-sex marriages, “protecting and promoting the Boy Scouts” against gay attacks, and fending off “the so-called Homosexual Lobby(’s)…constant and daily verbal and print assaults on Public Advocate.” The group even condemns the Conservative Political Action Conference “for hosting gay lobbies as co-sponsors,” whatever that means.

Clayton defended Public Advocate against both the SPLC and the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that the two nonprofit groups were “bought off by massive homosexual fundraising and cannot be trusted with other people’s children.” Clayton goes to lengths that we’re not really sure that even Public Advocate does. For example, he apparently believes that there is a NAFTA superhighway being built from Toronto to Mexico, but disguised as the expansion of I-69 south of Indiana through Memphis to Texas, a step that he thinks could lead to the creation of the “North American Union” and the end of the United States. He believes, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, that “voters…need to protect themselves by voting against neoconservative New World Order boys like Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.” He believes that a national ID card has been “secretly and electronically embedded in ALL Tennessee driver’s licenses.” He wants to get rid of the “ridiculous and unqualified” Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Yes, Clayton won the Democratic primary and with or without the Party’s endorsement, he will be the main candidate opposing Corker (and his purported neoconservative world order, as Clayton sees it). But the real kick to this story is the 501(c)(4) Public Advocate. The organization’s website includes this response from CEO Eugene Delgaudio to Elmo’s congressional testimony in favor of arts funding: “The tax-funded Muppets invaded Capitol Hill to condemn Republicans and urge the public to vote for the Democratic Party in broad day light and the Muppets are an attack brigade for the partisan liberal socialism that pays their salaries.” Then there is Delgaudio’s salute to the “Victory of the Boy Scouts over the Homosexual Lobbies relentless attacks on them” (sic), which comes in the form of a song he wrote and titled “Morally” (sung to the tune of “Aura Lee”). You can watch it here (and if you can explain why guys are wearing paper bags over their heads, please tell us):

Boy, there are all kinds of 501(c) organizations, aren’t there? –Rick Cohen